Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation, Tammy Smalley said “This is a staggering and deeply disappointing decision from government which will result in many healthy badgers dying across the UK’s countryside this autumn.”
In March - following a review by Professor Godfray - the Government promised to move away from lethal control and expand measures including vaccination. However, after seven years of badger culling, the Government has failed again to move forward with its own advice and is expanding its culling programme into more regions including Derbyshire, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.
Lincolnshire has been identified as a low risk area for bovine tuberculosis by the Government’s own agency, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). The Government are yet to publish any rationale for why Lincolnshire has been included in the cull or evidence that TB is endemic in the badger population.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust own cattle, work closely with farming communities and understand the devastation that bovine tuberculosis can cause. But the culling of badgers is not the answer and certainly not within a low risk area such as Lincolnshire. The Trust will not allow culling of badgers on its land.
The Wildlife Trusts’ latest campaign started just over two weeks ago, has already resulted in over 14,500 people so far writing to their MPs raising concerns about the badger cull and plans to expand into new areas.
The Wildlife Trusts oppose culling and believe the science used to justify the killing of thousands of badgers every year in the UK is flawed. Evidence shows that bTB is primarily a cattle problem, not a wildlife one. The main route of bTB transmission in cattle is between cattle. Over 60,000 badgers could be shot this Autumn bringing the overall total of badgers shot since the cull began in 2013 to over 160,000. This is approximately 40% of the UK badger population. And the shooting won’t stop this Autumn but will continue for another 4 years.